iTunes U

So Berkeley jumped on the iTunes U wagon. Not just that, but they’ve made it available free for all to use. I’m not sure if they’re the first University to open this to the public, but it’s the first I’ve heard of it. There’s a lot of neat stuff on there that you can download - a very nice selection of all kinds of lectures. They have made available different discussion panels and such that they’ve hosted. I’m listening to a discussion by a panel of renowned scientists who are pissed about the government’s meddling with their science.

That’s cool beans!

I love Berkeley. I need Judith Butler to retire so my wife can get a tenure stream position there :p

I’m just posting to keep this on the front page a while longer. Oh, and to say this is an awesome idea, and I hope some truly forward thinking University puts the entirety of their courses online in this format.

I’ve got to say that, as a professor who sometimes gives pretty bitchin’ classes, I wouldn’t want my classes on iTunes unless I was somehow getting compensated for it.

And I’m betting that the colleges are getting compensated, but not the profs.

Well, as a former professor who always had pretty bitchin’ classes, I don’t see why. Kidding aside, you say that the colleges are getting compensated but I don’t see how. Not saying it isn’t happening, I just don’t see it. The academic podcasts I’ve found are all free.

But even if they weren’t free, do you get paid by the student? I was paid by the course, or the credit, depending on the situation, and that had nothing to do with the number of students. Granted, there was a seating limit, in my case 30, but that’s because I had to evaluate all these students. In the case of the class being broadcast, the larger audience doesn’t represent more work for the professor, so again, I’m not sure why the extra compensation.

I suppose if professors are regarded as performers who own the rights to their performance and every reproduction of it, then I could see it, but I don’t think that’s the case. I could be wrong though, I don’t recall the legal specifics around my contract.

There was a lot of controversy around this issue when Distance Learning was going to be the Next Big Thing. The idea was that universities could have you teach for a semester, tape it all, and then run the course with some grad students and your canned lectures. Lower wages, less classroom overhead, and voila. I think that the opinion that prevailed was that professors own their courses. David Noble wrote a series of essays on this in the late 90’s. You can read them online here:David Noble’s Articles on Digital Diploma Mills.

Maybe the .edu can spend some time with iTunes to make it less of a memory hog? Currently it uses 3 times as much resources as Winamp/WMP10.

Very interesting, Kevin. I’ll have to take a look at these. Thanks for the link.

Michigan does this kind of thing (but not university wide, such that there’s an link). School of Dentistry, Business School, Engineering. Been doing it for 6+ months.

In the summer semester, yes, I get paid by the student. Normally, I do get paid by the class, and if there are enough students on a waiting list to warrant another section, many times the new section will be added and I will make more money. So the more people who take my class (or want to) the more money I make. And all my classes have caps, and I’m always fighting with kids who want to get into the class above the cap.

I put a lot of work into preparing my classes, my lectures, and my discussions (and running a good discussion class is just as much a talent as giving a good lecture). It’s also not fair to the students who pay a lot of money to attend my classes.

I would say it’s very similar to a performer. I know when I’ve had a good class and when I haven’t, much like I know when I’ve given a good performance and when I haven’t (and if you’ve only given good performances, then you a) haven’t given many, and b) can’t tell the difference.)

I know that I just turned over two of my classes to a new prof, and my syllabi were considered my ip and quite valuable. Another prof told me not to show the newcomer my syllabi, or talk to her about the classes, because they were strictly mine and she should develop her own. I didn’t do that simply because I have a good working relationship with her, and I think that the students benefit from continuity within the program.

Any other universities doing this on iTunes? I don’t have much success finding them directly on iTunes with a search.

I see this as distance auditing, not distance learning. To really learn, you need someone with more knowledge than you (such as a professor) who is willing to guide you when you get stuck. That’s my opinion, in any case.

True, but there are some interesting lectures and speeches, etc. on the Berkeley site.

It’s amazing how conservative and capitalist these academics become once it’s their own bread and butter on the line. :)

There was a prof at my university when I ran a computer lab. He taught a C class, and a C class outside of the CS department. This was in 1999. Rather than oh, set up a password-protected website with the files, he gave the lab a floppy disk.

A floppy.

And expected us to check IDs so that no one would take his “intro to C” example programs. Yeah, the ones that started “void main(void)”.